Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Right Whale Research
NOAA Fisheries is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on permits for scientific research on endangered right whales in the North Atlantic and North Pacific.
NOAA Fisheries has typically analyzed each proposed permit and permit amendment via separate Environmental Assessments. The PEIS will evaluate several alternatives for a more programmatic approach that will allow NOAA Fisheries to better analyze the potential cumulative impacts of research activities on right whales and the environment.
Major environmental issues that will be addressed in the PEIS include:
- a review of right whale takes authorized and reported since 2001;
- the types of research activities to be permitted in the future, including temporal and geographic extent of activities, level of effort (sample sizes and frequency of sampling), and standardized protocols;
- mitigation and implementation measures; and
- the cumulative impacts of research activities on right whales and the environment.
NOAA Fisheries invited the public, including permit holders, researchers and scientists, elected officials, regulatory agencies, environmental groups, and other interested individuals, to attend scoping meetings and to provide input on the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts that should be considered in the EIS.
Public scoping meetings were held in:
- New Bedford, MA [pdf]
- San Diego, CA [pdf]
- Silver Spring, MD [pdf]
Federal Register Notice of Intent [pdf]